Ratings are important, obviously, but the “analytical” mindset can be crippling. Look at Sports, for instance. Baseball is talking about having computers “decide” whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, then relay the call through an ear bud to the home plate umpire, who will then repeat it.
The National Football League STILL can’t tell what a catch is – and pass interference is a complete mystery. NO ONE knows what it is. I’ve seen wide receivers practically clubbed to death, and nothing is called. But on other days, if you even tell a guy you don’t like his car, it’s a 15-yard penalty.
To me, obsessing over ratings, particularly weekly ratings, is rather insane.
By and large, you have to  play the right music,  have your service elements – News, Traffic, Weather – actually BE of service (not, say, a forecast recorded at 4am by a TV weather guy who cut it between teeth whitening treatments), and  have air talents who are the most engaging, the most relevant to my life, and/or the most entertaining. THEN I’ll listen. If you don’t, no weekly PPM measurement can help you, because you’ve substituted left-brain information for what is essentially a right-brain challenge.
Weekly ratings are a joke, like measuring your kid’s height every day. You need a little more time between measurements to get the full picture.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about ratings, but don’t let them take your eye off the ball.
Radio pioneer Gordon McClendon said, “Be Informative, Be Entertaining, or Be Quiet.” (But we all knew that “or be quiet” really meant “or you’ll be gone soon.”) Don’t WAIT for ratings methodology to tell you the obvious, or make you focus on things that won’t cure your problems. PROGRAM the station. Hire great people. Tell them the Strategy. And if they need it, get them some coaching help.
I can tell you if a station’s a Top 3 station in fifteen minutes of listening. Because something that happens on the air during that time will MATTER to me.
Work on that.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.